Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Newness. Green. Rebirth. The flowers, the warmer climate, the celebration of our Savior’s resurrection … everything that was once dead is now blooming! Walking into school last week, I inhaled the sweetness of the new flower pots our administration had set out. Another recent Saturday morning I noticed how beautiful the Bradford pear trees were in our neighborhood as the sun bathed them in its morning beauty, the white buds bursting boldly. And then came the most gorgeous day of the year yesterday, a day in which I considered it a privilege to mow the yard and let my boys play superheroes later on. There was absolutely no other place on earth I wanted to be.
As each spring comes for the rest of my life I will be reminded of a man I once knew. His story shouts the power of God’s glory, and he knows that, but he steadily resists telling it to others. It’s just not the right time. Who knows how long it will take–maybe three years, maybe five or ten–but the story will be shared in due time. You see, his story has devastated many, and although he has largely healed from it, many of his close friends and family, the only ones who know about it, still suffer greatly. He knows that time heals all wounds, and as things have gotten better for him, he hears God’s whisper to let them heal. The story itself will always be there. And now that he has been made new through God’s grace, he waits for God to tell him when it indeed is time.
Knowing this man all too well, I asked special permission if I could share his story anonymously through my blog. He told me it was fine, to skim over the man he once was and focus on what God has done for him since. Out of respect for that request, I will keep his past to a sentence or two. Two years ago, on this very day, he was at the lowest point of his life. He loathed his job, he was drowning in the early stages of fatherhood, and his lower back felt like a twisted pretzel. His marriage was in shambles, and he was ready to pull the plug. What he failed to realize is that God did not like the man he was and was breaking him down to nothing. This man had to be rebuilt.
It was not instantaneous. God didn’t send a magnificent lightning bolt down, changing this man from old to new. After being hospitalized, he took the summer to regroup. His back slowly healed, allowing him to participate in activities he had given up for years. His marriage, although broken, somehow shifted back together. Fatherhood became more of a joy as his little ones became more independent, this man was blessed with hands down the most loveable group of students when he returned to work in the fall. Through it all there was one constant: God’s loving grace. It was grace that wiped his most hideous acts clean, and it was grace that began mending all severed relationships in his life.
Today, two years removed from his lowest point ever, he stands stronger than ever. His haunted past has given him a new future in Christ. The amazing thing about his recovery is not that he has been made new through his recent baptism. It is not that his marriage is stronger than ever or that he is loving being a father of two beautiful little boys. The amazing thing about this man’s story is that he is going to use his darkest depression to save lives. The moment where Satan held his hand the longest is going to be used to bring glory to God. He hates his past, yet he embraces it. After all, had he not spent a few years in the desert of life, he sure wouldn’t be appreciating his climb back to the top. The view he sees now? It is quite the breathtaking site.
And so he waits. He waits until God whispers to him that it is time. Telling it too quickly would unsettle his loved ones. Telling it too late will leave lives left unsaved. When will this man tell his story? Only God knows. But when he does, he will be shouting it to the world. It is a resurrection story worth noting and certainly merits an audience. Some day. So as you notice the buds blooming outside and the newness of spring, know that spring stands for a whole lot more than that. Spring is his second chance at life, and he is living it to the fullest. Full throttle. No holding back. All for the Lord. All because Someone decided to sacrifice Himself for the good of mankind on the cross.
The cross. His full forgiveness. Blood shed for this man and for so many others. Christ has forgiven all his sins and created him anew. What about you? What is holding you back? What are you holding onto? What do you need to forgive yourself for? There is no sin too deep that cannot be wiped clean by the blood of Christ. We are blessed with the life He gave us. So long as we confess, repent, and live our lives for Him in return, that undeserved grace is ours to cherish. Forever. This man is a new creation. He’s never going back to what he was, and he’s embracing his new life in Christ. Born again.